Theresa May fights for survival ahead of Brexit talks

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11 June, 2017

This was likely to involve a deal in which the DUP would support a Conservative government on key votes in parliament, but not form a formal coalition.

The tabloid Sun newspaper called the election result "MAYHEM". The Conservatives, who had campaigned for a "Strong and Stable Britain", will continue to lead the United Kingdom, but can only do so with the support of the DUP, the Democratic Unionist Party, a conservative political party in Northern Ireland which is a traditional supporter of the Tories.

DUP Leader Arlene Foster recently denied the party was homophobic.

"We want to end austerity and invest in this country and that's what we're going to do".

The DUP's social conservatism - it is opposed to same-sex marriage and abortion - has also alarmed some in May's party, particularly Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who is gay.

Senior party figures have cautioned against any immediate leadership challenge, saying it would cause only further disruption as Britain prepares to start the Brexit talks as early as June 19. Her weakened position in the party rules out big changes, and May's office has said that the most senior Cabinet members - including Treasury chief Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Amber Rudd - will keep their jobs, but she is expected to shuffle the lower ranks of ministers.

While May is set to be allowed to govern, she will have to go by the time of the next election, he said.

"So we will have to see what the Commons has to say when they meet".

European Union budget commissioner Guenther Oettinger said May was now likely to be a "weak" partner. "With a weak negotiating partner, there's a danger that the (Brexit) negotiations will turn out badly for both sides". Former Conservative cabinet minister Owen Paterson, asked about her future, said: "Let's see how it pans out".

SNP leader and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it had been a disappointing night for her party, which lost seats to the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

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Many in the party believe she has been fatally wounded.

"Now, the Prime Minister has no authority and the Conservatives have no mandate", he added. She campaigned against Brexit, then had to reinvent herself as a true believer in it when the British unexpectedly revolted against the European Union and she was thrust into the prime ministership.

"In my view it may well just be a period of transition", she told LBC radio.

At the time she was riding high in the polls and she pushed a tough message on Brexit on the campaign trail, saying she was planning to be a "bloody hard woman" in Brussels.

At the same time, an emboldened Labour Party gained 29 seats in the House of Commons under Jeremy Corbyn, meaning the left-wing party stands a much better chance of blocking any Tory initiatives that require approval from Parliament.

"Britain is about to find out the price of that failure". Brussels will be licking its lips.

The London Evening Standard, edited by former finance minister George Osborne who was sacked by May, splashed with a photo of her under the headline "Queen of Denial".

Although the ruling Tories managed to increase their popular vote share by more than five percent from the last general election in 2015, earning 42.4 percent of the vote, they lost a good number of seats to Labour, which saw a bump of 9.5 percent from 2015, securing it a total of 40 percent.

Despite campaigning against Brexit, Labour has accepted the result but said it would prioritise maintaining close economic ties with the EU.


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